Reading: 1st Corinthians 12:4-14
Verse 7: “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”
In this week’s Epistle reading Paul speaks to us about the gifts of the Spirit. There is a list of 9 gifts in verses 8-10. You may recognize one or two of your gifts in that list. Or maybe your gifts aren’t listed here. The 9 are a partial list. There are many other gifts of the Spirit. Counsel, piety, teaching, exhortation, generosity, mercy, and leadership are gifts listed in Isaiah 11 and in Romans 12. Some have the gift of ministering to the grieving or with children. Some have the gift of music. There are many gifts of the Holy Spirit.
In verse 7 Paul writes, “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” There are two parts of this verse that I’d like to highlight today. First, “to each one.” The gifts of the Spirit aren’t given to just the select few or even to a handful of people. No, every single one of us has been given gifts by the Spirit. Second, “for the common good.” There are two aspects of the common good. Within the body of faith our gifts are to be used to build up and enrich the body of Christ. The common good here would be growing deeper in Christ. Outside of the body our gifts are to be used in the world, yet for the same overall purpose: to build up the kingdom of God. Using our Spirit-given gifts in the world enhances the common good of everyone. This happens as we strive to live out and to live up to Jesus’ example, loving God and loving neighbor.
Each of us, using the gifts that we have each been given by the Spirit for the common good, is essential, needed, vital, necessary, important. Without you using your gifts, we are less than we could be. Imagine your body without a brain or without a heart or without lungs or eyes or blood vessels or… That is the body of Christ without you and your gifts. May we all use our gifts for the glory of Jesus Christ.
Prayer: Lord God, lead and guide me today and every day to use all the gifts that your Spirit has given to me. Whether for just one or for a group, use me to enhance the common good and to build up the kingdom here on earth. Amen.